“Fathers Island” Review

Fathers Island can be purchased on Steam!

I have always reviewed the big titles back in FPSC days so I’ve recently picked up doing so too for Game Guru titles.

Fathers Island will be a tough one to review because I both like and dislike this game. I do however believe that a really great and unique game is buried under what appears to be a mixed bag of odd design choices, genuine talent and compromises. So lets get this part started:

First off, let me say that I find it hilarious that a game released in this day and age that openly mocks american ultra conservatives and nostalgic patriotism is entirely held in shades of orange. Get it? Orange??

When booting up Fathers Island you are immediately greeted with the distinct and stylized artwork of our resident Disturbing 13. I find this to be a very well made first impression. The current ReShade overlay is active in the menues as well…which is surprisingly more appealing than distracting.
I’m not sure if this is intentional but fathers island is starting off with the perfect introduction. You see, Homegrown won’t play a cutscene and throw you right on to the island. You’ll first have to get there.
The player will have to fill up the empty tank of a motorboat. Doing so will introduce you to the core gameplay of F.I. which is exploration, narrative, keyhunt and occasionally you’ll have to find an item (which is also a glorified abstraction of finding a key.) The entire concept is presented to us before we venture to the island and are greeted with a genuinely well made, though delightfully sappy, narrated intro.

Fathers island never tries to hide its GG origins. You’ll be introduced to an incoherent mix of styles in the assets used, effects blinking in and out of existence, objects clipping through other objects or floating pretty much right away. I can safely say that if the tutorial island, let me call it that, of fathers island does not spike your interest, you can shut the game of right there. While it will have its high moments n’ climaxes of oddness later on, most of the game will be what you just witnessed before you fill up the boat.

On the island we will be introduced to life action flashbacks with your father (In this case no other than the great Johann Ivanovitsch Ertlovski himself, alive and raving) who is obviously borderline or all out insane. These cutscenes are really entertaining and Ertlov is upping the anty with his acting the further you proceed throughout the game.
Exploring the island is calming and surreal. You’ll often trigger a narration which is usually well voice acted, however over the top it can get. Our protagonist used to be a teacher who was released from prison. I just hope he didn’t get his voice and attitude from chain smoking in a cell but rather sounded the same when he was still teaching class. His voice is delightfully rugged and would fit well in an early 2000’s action flick.

Visually, Fathers Island is, despite the now improved post processing, nothing to write home about. Its never bad and certainly notches above plenty of GG releases that currently plague Steam Greenlight like an infectious disease but its also not quite good.
Everything seems out of place and I was hoping for a bit better models from someone as experienced as Ertlov. Everything looks improvised and unpolished. You’ll find that many different models don’t complement each other at all and especially shacks or buildings end up looking like a thrown together mess. There is a lot of “chaos” on the screen. You also have to add that the game is constantly tinned in this extreme, surreal orange. Somewhere in between sunset and the surface of mars. Ertlov and team did try to add a certain logic to the game world though and from a gameplay perspective most of it made kinda sense. You can follow powerlines to find buildings so you are never truely lost and despite feeling quite open world, the game managed to lead me from place to place and I always had the necessary key! (despite one time towards the end)
I find this to be very important because right now, the game was not compelling enough to me for me to put up with excessive back tracking.
What I found appealing was that both in tone and in style the game reminded me a ton of HomeGrowns previous (visually superior) installment: Into the Dark.
I think the general layout of the game would have worked well if it went for different assets and maybe less dark red and orange light. Nothing ever looks quite right and from a visual perspective it always feels completely unpolished. Strangely enough, this kinda adds to its charm.

If you find yourself disagreeing with me while playing the game, visit the school. It perfectly well encapsules what I am talking about.
Fathers Island has competent map design. It really does! However, I do feel like the assets they do use in said decent map design never quite fit. I feel allowed to say this because a large fraction of what they used has been designed by myself. If you walk through the school building specifically you will find that the layout is eerieely reminiscent of old “dark-engine” titles like “The Hunted”. You’ll also find a weird visual hotchpotch of models and media that clearly stems from different designers. (There is also a room with an odd door that just stands around in the middle of it. With frame and everything. I think finding something like this in an abandoned building IRL would be downright creepy
Now, the reason why I won’t shut up about this is because I feel like shutter island would be a whole different ball game if it simply had different models. If the school would look like a derelict hermit school (Wicker man comes to mind), if the island’d be overgrown and showing signs of decay (not mixed in with brand new furniture). I bet that his would be a hauntingly hilarious game if the visuals where not such an incoherent mess…unified by its extreme orange tint.

I won’t spoil the story of the game (altough I highly doubt many of you’ll be reading this far) as it is something you should experience by yourself. Especially the 4 different endings. Let me repeat that: Fathers Island has 4 different ending sequences all of which are very well done. (I feel like the hilariously extreme ones kinda come out of nowhere, but hey! Its a homegrown game.)
I do however have to mention that after completing a weird fantasy quest (sadly nerved due to engine limitations I heard from Ertlov) involving robbing a grave you will find yourself in an underground laboratory. Complete with 1980’s science fiction machinery that even has flat touchscreens. …I’m pretty sure that I am the only one who is bothered by this after all that has transpired on the island so far. Bestiality jokes included. Looking at most of the machinery in the lab, I’m pretty sure that whoever designed it was a complete dingbat. And yes, there are also nazis in this game. Don’t worry! Well..not as characters but as references.

Another thing with this game is that, apart from some wildlive…and sheep, it has no characters. Hence:

Quote: “the new game from Austrian indie veterans Homegrown Games simply doesn’t fit into an exact genre definition.”

Is incorrect. This game is a pure-bred walking simulator.

You’ll be wandering the surreal landscape waiting for the either tragically comical or comically tragic narration to set in or for another ludachris acting performance by Ivan.
Into the dark was far more condensed and had shooting elements to keep the player busy…here I find myself walking long stretches of somewhat empty nothingness waiting for the game to humour me with narration. I doubt that many people outside the indie scene would put up with these huge stretches of “dead air”. I must however thank you…and I suppose its as good a time as any to start with the personal note:

Personal Note!

Playing the game triggered a childhood memory of mine. I now remember a vacation in the woods, a hut, feeding birds in the morning…serenity…stealing an old ski-stick they used to mark some terrain to build another vacation hut and playing knight. That was a magical vacation I had as a kid somewhere. Maybe I should book some lodge for an extended weekend with my lass next year. It would be affordable and romantic! Thanks for the idea.

Besides that: I have noticed you using plenty of my models and I’m sorry that they fit your setting so little. Especially the mystic library fantasy pack mostly shows up in games that are not medieval fantasy at all and they never fit. I think a “1930’s mystery adventure pack” would be a good idea for a project sometime next year
Despite me taking the piss out of it, I’m thankful for using so much of my stuff… now plenty of folks see it.

End Personal Note!

While the game managed to always lead me to the right places, even when I was exploiting the terrain for short cuts, I didn’t have the necessary key for (what I assume to be) the last door of the game. Blin!
No matter… while wandering through the area I did come across the suicide ending…and accidentally triggered it. By the way, was it intentional or a lucky coincidence that after the ending video you can see the player character drowning??

Fathers Island would be a dozen times better if it where not such a drown out to walk this huge island. If Homegrown decided to go with smaller, better designed levels rather than this huge walk-a-ton I bet the game would be something odd for the ages and way more entertaining. As it is, it is only held up by the novelty of its weirdness, the charismatic narration and the weird humour.
Some gameplay, bet it simple shooter mechanics, be it deeper exploration and gathering mechanics would have added a lot to what is otherwise rather uneventful.
I might sound harsh but I do have a softspot in my heart for this game. I would not have finished (kinda finished) it otherwise if I felt like it was a waste of time.
F.I has the typical homegrown underdog charm and I really value what it has done for GG early on where almost all other games where complete and utter dung.

What would I have done / attempted to have done differently:

F.I. is a game that has very little gameplay at all and lives off its visuals and narrative. Sadly the visuals aren’t all that great. It also suffers from long, uneventful walks through nothingness.

If I had designed this game I’d have put stark focus on grapics and aesthetics as well as having it divided in several levels. Events and key places would be closer together and while I’d not completely remove wandering the woods, I’d keep that to a minimum. The music was good and gave everything this sense of calmness and serenity, I’d keept that. Foliage and environmental props would be way more coherent and I’d try to add more exploration to it (being able to browse through lockers and having the character comment on items and so forth.)

While I don’t think that F.I. would be all too interesting to the general publich I do believe that indie developers, game guru users and fans of previous homegrown games should get a copy.
To Ivan I can only say: Keep it up!

Sheepish regards


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Law of Gamedesign!

A comprehensive list of universal laws that apply to the art and science of video game design.  Observe:

Law of Completion: Once you have built the final exe and test it, you will find out that you have overlooked one crucial element and have to fix and build it again.

Law of Inevitability: At least one feature you where really proud of will have to be cut from the final product.

Focus Rule: The more time you invest in a certain feature or level, the less your audience will notice it or care

Law of the LetsPlayer: After release, you will notice at least one LetsPlayer on youtube do something or try something in your game that you never, in a million years, would have even thought about or considered. This can have positive or negative side effects.

Schrödingers Loadingbar: An immobile loadingbar during build/test/play or installation actually means that the software is both: crashed and still running.The only way to find out is to use control/alt/delete which may or may not cause a crash that may or may not have been present before.

Law of Gathering: Whenever you think you have all the assets to tackle your new level/idea. You will find out that you miss that one crucial item/character/script.

Law of Futility: Attempts to rival AAA studios are not only futile, but also often attempted by people who know that they are futile.

Reviewer Theorem: No matter how easy your game is, some reviewer will complain about it being too difficult.

Law of the Playstation: No matter how good you think your art direction is, someone will compare your game to “playstation 2 graphics”.

Scripters Law: The moment you have a script up and running, you’ll find a better version either on the store or the forum.

Bambers Law: Lee will add a feature at the precise moment you have planned your game around its absence.

Law of Presentation: The probability of your project crashing increases with the amount of people in the room you wish to present it to.

Law of the Industry Standard: The more expensive a tool is, the less convenient is its interface.

Rule of Visual Fidelity: The closer your graphics are to contemporary standards, the more people will scrutinize them as they no longer identify them as “indie”.
The Game Guru feature manifesto: The more important a feature is, the less people vote for its implementation

Law of similarity: No matter how unique or exotic your idea is…someone will say that it looks just like [insert well known title here]

Rule of Competence: the more able you are, the less epic and original are your ideas.

Law of Duration: Everything takes about three times longer than you think it does.

Twin Theorem: Even if you have 2 identical PC’s with identical specs, drivers and OS, your software will still inexplicably crash on one of them.

Wolfs Law: Even if you finish your project to your best knowledge, you still have a 40% chance of not being able to get the full experience to run. If this occurs, you’ll only be able to run half of your game or in worst cases only the first level.

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Oblivion: Retextured – TES:IV Oblivion Mini Mod released

Hi! I have recently released this mini project of mine. Oblivion Retextured!

You can download it here.

This mod aims to replace certain textures of oblivion with higher resolution versions as well as recolor some of the them to resonate better with the look of the other elder scrolls games. My aim is to remove the blurry and plastic look from the game. This mod assumes that you already have qarls texture pack III aswell as a face and body replacer installed. It will tackle the textures these mods have not touched. Especially the clothes and armor aswell as the realms of oblivion.

Below is an archive of development articles!


A wise man once said that no one reads the introduction. Well, you seem to be the exception of the rule then 😉 Oblivion is among my favorite games…it has a sense of depth and maturity lacking from Skyrim (brilliant game aswell, don’t get me wrong.) What has always rubbed me wrong however, was the visual style of the game.

Everything looked washed out, blurry and the colors often seemed out of place. This was especially true with the higher level weapon and armor design. A lot of it just looked like plastic or otherwise odd.

While the modding community has done great improvements to oblivion already not everything has yet been done or done to my taste which is why I started this modding project. Textures go a long way and can give a game new live (thinking about the great Thief 3 texture mod here.) I hope that these textures will be part of many players future elder scrolls experiences and add to an already fantastic game.

This mod assumes that you have qarls texture pack 3 and some kind of head/body replacer installed and will not touch the material already modified by these mods. It will tackle anything not yet improved/changed instead.

What is planned:

NPC Clothing will be slightly improved and recolored so it fits in the TES universe and no longer is looking ridiculous or shining like a Christmas tree when HDR is turned on. Some color combinations are changed.

Armor will be retextured to look more used and worn. It will also be adjusted visually so you can wear parts of different sets without them looking out of place. I will also add higher-resolution versions where needed (especially gloves, as these are seen in first person). Some armor might have less of a “knight in shining armor” flair when I’m done with it which is why this mod might not be for everyone.

Weapons will get higher resolution textures and recolors. They should look less like toys once I’m done with them…especially the glass and steel set.

Creatures will get higher resolution textures and will be adjusted to look less like cartoons. In the original games creatures like the ogre or xivilai looked very non-threatening…I aim to change that. Making things look more “visceral”, vicious and organic.

Clutter, Items and architecture will be adjusted where needed.

Oblivion (the realm) will get a new and more somber look. I try to stray away from the pastel colors it is held in now and cover it more in rust and ashes.

Part I : The empires new clothes

I started with the clothes, doing quick fixes and changes, especially the colors as seen above. I also had to learn how the oblivion engine renders the normalmaps so some mistakes are still present. Here are a few screenshots:

Hello community!

I’m happy to see that the initial responses to the mod where positive 🙂 I was able to get some more work done on the textures. So far I have replaced 90% of the interior textures for the plains of oblivion. The new textures are only slightly different in design…they look a little more organic for the energy membranes and otherwise more like volcanic stone/cold lava which is prevalent in oblivion. (assuming the daedra actually build their architecture like we do and not just will them into existence.)

While I often increased resolution and detail of the textures up to 2048² the results where less visible than I hoped. The reason for this is that the normalmaps have a pretty strong effect in oblivions engine so I have to replace them aswell. So far I have refused doing so because the way the gamebryo engine requires these maps is a chore to do. I have to save the specular map in the normalmaps alphachannel (at least that is how it looks) and this is the exact kind of fiddlework I had to do for an earlier version of Shavra. I hated it then and I still hate it now.

Either way, I believe the results are at least servicable and oblivion does look more hellish now than in vanilla:

A lot of textures look crisp and detailed even when standing right in front of them.

This diffuse map has a resolution of 2048²…the normalmapping does obscure this.

Darker and more infernal oblivion interiors.

I’ll get back to working on the realm of oblivion soon and comments as well as suggestions are welcome.

Below is a simple retexture of the scamp. As they stroll the dark planes of oblivion rather casually which is literally surrounded by lavalstreams, I figured that having them look greyish and burnt would be more suitable:

The Dwarven Armor and Weapon Set

Lorewise, the dwarven equipment should look like bronze…however, it has always been displayed looking more like pale gold. I always liked the look in both Morrowind and Skyrim…in oblivion however they looked as if they where made from solid gold, polished gold at that and very recently. Dwarven equipment is supposed to be ancient. I have increased the resolution of the textures, added some small ornaments and changed the colors to at least look more like in the other games as well as blend better with other sets.

My character is wearing leather greaves as the game refused to take the texture for the dwarven one. An issue I’ll solve soon, I’m sure.

High resolution and adapted colors.

Thank you for reading, please leave some comments below if you’re already here and you’ll hear from me next time.

Hello and welcome to a small update!

I’m done with the realms of oblivion! However, there is some tweaking that still needs doing so you’ll see screenshots of the oblivion plains in the next update. This update will focus on the caves. I gave them darker, more broody textures so they have the appearance of volcanic rock which seems most appropriate. Lit section glow in dark red and you might need a torch for the unlit sections. All in all I’m happy with how it turned out, but lets take a look at minor tweaks first:

Minor Tweaks

I have adjusted the leather shield to go better with the regular leather armor. The stark color difference was because there is another leather armor set in the files that seems to be unused in oblivion. (its active in some mods) The shield belongs to this set. The actual leather armor as seen on this screenshot was originally intended to be used as the thieves guild armor (at least so it seems). The new shield has higher resolution and detailed as well as darker leather.

Here you see the amelion-gloves with high-res chainmail aswell as a dirty Kvatch armor. Seeing how Kvatch was reduced to nothing but rubble, it felt appropriate to add some dirt and blood on the guard armor, seeing how they likely fought very hard before the players arrival at the scene.

I gave the palace guards armor a more metallic and less glittery appearance.

Mithril Armor

The Mithril armor needed only minor tweaks, in my opinion:

The new texture mostly differs in tone. Its less affected by the HDR rendering and goes better with the new chainmail, elven and glass sets. It also looks more like armor made of shiny metal rather than some kinda synthetic fiber. (the original always had that vibe for me).

Other tweaks include:

* High-res steel arrow quiver that fits better with most armor sets!

* No more neon-yellow Bruma guards

* Starting a mod to replace vanilla paintings with higher resolution, more alluring yet still lore friendlly paintings

And the Oblivion Caves:


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New Low-Poly 3D Assets

I usually don’t make individual posts about new 3D Models. Normally I just hoard them in the 3D Bazaar. But since I don’t have that much new to pen just yet and am in the middle of reorganizing a lot of my online presence, here are some of my recent models to keep things flowing on here:

I am back to modeling. Took some time off where I was either painting or working on Shavra as I decided that it was time for a new generation of models.
As I mentioned a few times above, my modeling has not improved all too much since I made the Mystic Library Set in 2013.
I am currently working on new packs and will be delighted to present them here. To get back into it, here is the first mesh since quite some time:

Ornate Pocketwatch

I am particulary fond of how the normalmap acts on the photograph…making it stick out. I think this item has a lot of soul to it and am pleased to have it usher in a new and (even if only slightly) improved aera of modeling.

Ornate Pocket Watch and alternative version

Here is the watch with correct normalmapping! You’ll also see it from different angles and the version without the lid.

Wooden Bow

A wooden bow with some decorative ornaments on the metallic parts.
This model didn’t live up to what I wanted to do…but oh well! I guess its fine.

temple plinth

Always useful for fantasy or jungle scenes. Its the kind of model I never seem to have enough off.

RsX Modulation Unit (version with and without screen will be available)

Scifi Prop in the style of the abandoned terraforming plant pack.

Female Cyberpunk/SF Noir mercenary

Here are some minor additions I have recently crafted:

Triple screen terminal.

Absurdly large Satcom unit. The presentation does not really show how big it is in Guru…I’ll add a screen of that later


Cyberpunk – retrofuturistic advertisment signs/billboards…err what do you call these actually?
Here are some less fancy items I have made that are just very useful to me.

Metal bars. Includes a fancy version for modern architecture.

Large pipe

Set of pipes and wall accessoires.

Not the most interesting of stuff but I’m still pretty happy with how they turned outThank you for your visit!

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Nox – Free Game

Hey folks!

Just dropping a note that “Nox” is free on origin now.
Its an old fantasy-action game that I liked a lot back in the day. It has a certain goofy charm to it and its a fun challenge without all too much depht.
While its certainly a child of its time with its Diablo inspirations, it adds its own spin to it and keeps it fresh. I can’t stand clicking endless hordes of monsters to death and this game freshens it all up with traps, hidden areas, breakable objects, lots of loot and pretty neat leveldesign.

If you are willing to take the pain of their system you can get it for free on origin. (its on GoG otherwise)

Running it on modern systems might require you to use NOXGui which can be found here.
(if your character is too far away from your PoV you might need to use a lower resolution)

Party on!

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Shavra – Renaissance : IndieDB Profile being updated again.

Hey there!

I am leaving this short post as a note that I am posting updates and am responding to feedback on IndieDB again. You can visit the profile for my upcoming project “Shavra – Renaissance” by clicking this link.

Thanks for checking by! 🙂

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Acythian – 2015 cyberpunk project

Hello dear reader!

This is an archive thread for a test project where I have tested the game guru engine and have attempted some new styles and texture techniques. I have ultimately discontinued this project as it was far too big for me to finish and less appealing than other projects I had going on. Maybe someone working on a similar project can find some inspiration in it or maybe someone into scifi and cyberpunk finds it an entertaining read.

What follows are copies of the posts from the development thread.

Note: This thread might include adult content. Viewer discretion is advised.

To the community
In this segment I reply to feedback. There is none yet so have a bloated block of text:
Most of you either read or partook in the recent discussion about game-guru and where it is heading and you might have thought that after all the concerns I raised I’d either not use GameGuru anymore or use another engine. I won’t do that for the following reasons: A) any other engine requires either to have a team or to invest way too much time and energy to get anything even close to what I can do in guru or FPSC. Anyone who gives you the “invest more time and you will get a superior game” line never actually invested that time and had to deal with the frustration of actual hard gamecoding. I do this as a creative outlet and for reasons I don’t understand myself all too well  but I don’t have the resources to play one-man gamestudio. B) FPSC classic is very fiddely when it comes to shaders and tends to combust under its own weight even if my project is minimalistic and dumbed-down. I can do simple but not FPSC simple. Even something as simplistic as “Shavra-Black November” didn’t build (one level did, but that was it) C) I like this community. You guys are fun and I genuinely care about your feedback.
No, I stick with gameguru for a while until the game-making aera is over and I move on. Maybe to jewelry.

Special thanks to rolfy for making the design of alien terrain a walk in the park
To the developers
In this segment I bring forth some feedback I might have or questions that raised during development. I don’t believe they’ll follow my thread this thightly but if they stop by, please check out this segment!
Being able to adjust the values of ambience and other settings via the sliders is great and well done! What would make it even better would be being able to save them as default or even as a preset! As of now I have written them down per hand but having a “save to file” function that spits out a .txt would be neat too .
I’m impressed with the FPS I am getting on my maps by the way, the times of FPSC are definately over!

About the game

Acythian is a pretty straight-forward shooter. None of my ambitious ideas like Shavra ever took flight so I rather stick with something smaller in scope that will get released in the end. Only small projects for uncle wolf!
The game relies on well designed maps with multiple engaging points, survivalist gameplay with a somewhat realistic “behind-enemy-lines” flair to it and a strong dystopian atmosphere.


Science Fiction with retrofuturistic and dystopian influences

The united solarsystems have lost a barely terraformed planet to the oligarchy. You’re a fighterpilot being shot down behind enemy lines upon retreat. You crashland (more crash than land ) in a worn torn, EMP distorted sector where most structures have been destroyed or rendered unusable. Enemy stragglers are still holding out and reinforcments are to come soon so you must find means to escape. Alone, facing tremendous opposition you will need to hijack a communications relay and find a way from the planet Acythian.


Empires are rarely vanquised by external force, they tend to crumble from within once their lifespan has …expired. The interstellar federation was the empire that allowed us to colonialize 14 solarsystems in a remarkably short amount of time. The courts where just, the education was flourishing and the people where free and healthy. Poverty barely existed, crime decreased and society reached its peak in empathy, tolerance and blissful coexistance. A large portion of humanity prospered in this environment yet an even larger one became lazy and uninspired. First signs of decadence, self indulgence and the vitriol fight for causes that where none or trivial in nature started to redivide us. It was the beginning of the end. Soon after our unity was broken and fractions started petty arguments. Planets forced independence upon themselves and soon after racism began to thrive. Few decades later the first interplanetary wars where fought. The conflict was brutal and forged to opposing parties. The oligarchy and the remnants of the federation now called united solarsystems. If no ways to coexist peacefully will be found soon humanity will soon be on the brink of its destruction and might soon again be restricted to a single blue planet in the sol-system.

Proof of concept / first screenshots

The acythian moon

Purification rigs in an almost dired out lakebed on an alien world.

Pretty ambience 

I’m going for a look inspired by some scifi illustrations I saw as a child 

A weapon work in progress. The guns won’t be anything too wild as they will be rigged to the stock animations or a set of EAI’s modernday guns. This one is something I’m not all that happy with.

The marketing for this will be this: The demo will be free (obviously) the full version will cost 4 USD while the stellar-edition will cost 40 USD and include all the assets I make for this project (wether or not the guns will also be included is not yet decided)

Please leave some feedback or comments! Its, as always, warmly appreciated!
Advice for fellow developers
There is a free batch conversion tool available for paint.net. Quickly convert all your textures in .dds!

So! Whats new? Well!! Nothing…what follows will likely be incredibly dull and uninteresting to you…in fact, the content of this post will most likely be completely removed after I made the transition to the newer, better concept for acythian. The truth is: making a dull, low quality shooter isn’t fun and there are already thousands to chose from. So onward!!
….To prototyping land

Here are some leftovers from the original design and color pallette.

This is an android working on a deceased soldier…and there is also a pile of bones on the floor. None of that matters though because this scene is not in the final game

You might wonder why I show screenshots of an already discontinued design…the reason is simple: For this project to be entertaining for me I decided to double the quality of my old FPSC work and make it a really cerebreal game. This means that there won’t be an update for a while and I don’t want to leave you people hangin and have the thread die down.
It took a while until a story and idea hit me that I could tell mostly through environment and notes with only occasional characters that isn’t pretentious scrap like most first person adventures…but when it did hit me, it hit hard and I’m very motivated to make it my game project of the year.

Acythian is now a first person adventure…like all those projects FPSC didn’t let me do. (Speaking of FPSC projects…I dug out the first one I EVER released on the TGC boards…it will be on the youtubes soon!) I have faith that guru will eventually let me make my little short stories and that would make and old Wolf happy.

The tagline of the project is “the divine law” so you can guess that its going to be heavy handed…however, its also going to be creapy…a lot more than my previous horror games and there will be the usual hidden humour.

You will now look at a nonsense prototype map I was clicking around in when I was forging the new game idea in my head.

I’m also modernizing and importing the FPSC classic stock assets for this game. They aged phenomenaly and require very little renovation.
The return …….To prototyping land

I wasn’t working as much on this the last couple of days but what I was trying to do was increasing the resolution and rewrapping the stock entities. Especially the architectural ones. I also made sure they fit in my colorpallette and that the normalmaps are decent. I found that guru handles quite a few highres textures! I want this game to look very vivid and decided to go with a fully shaded, high resolution look. Wether I can maintain that for all props is yet to be seen. This is the exact opposite of Spyra’s prototype where I was working with very low-res textures to fit everything in FPSC’s memorycap.

These are from wizard of ids stock media, slightly updated for acythians look.

Another thing I was attempting was architectural design without the conkit. This might help to enhance my experience with the conkit later.
The result was simply that while I can model the levels architecture entirely or partially in outside software, I just don’t reach a sufficient level of accuracy and so far it really is a pain to do anything indoorsy with guru.

Here are some failed attempts that the lightmapper screwed up even more (I’m having all the issues rolfy has already noted):

Something that worked pretty well is the player body! Big shoutout to DVader for the basic script that I use for now (uncertain wether there will follow a built in function for this). I’ll just have to add straving, crouching and jumping and its alright for alpha testing. This is of course a feature that goes into polish much later. The model has been a gift from the great gunsmith EAI and it has a ton of animations that might just do some serious first-person magic with the right use of LUA…I hope to achieve some cool environment interaction. …hope!
s4’s FPSC version of this had a feature to remove the limbs whenever the player equipped a weapon. This worked pretty seamlessly and I’m hoping to achieve something similar in guru. I’ll also replace her hands with ones resembling the HUD handrig once I know what that rig looks like
The player-shadow is a nice plus! when I had this feature in FPSC, it was a planary projected one, now its a dynamic one.

This should remind some older gamers of the terrific survival shooter “Trespasser”

This whole update should have been here before 2016 and polished but lots of things got in the way. I don’t like to present halfbaked content but hey! We are all developers here and you all now that none of this is in a final stage. This isn’t a promotional thread either but a work in progress.
I really wanted this to be out before Lee is releasing any major update so people know that I have been suffering the roughness of Game Guru just as much as my fellow dev!

Little miss Murder here is the heroine of Acythian. I’m not sure yet wether I’ll make this a third or first person game. The character, which Errant AI generously provided, has a large set of animations so third person wouldn’t look bad at all. Plus I could use my own weapon designs. The downside is that it is less immersive and with VR sets coming up having it in first person with a good player-body would be great. I’ll experiment around and let you know once my decision is final. The weapon she is holding is a placeholder and will not be in the game. Her look will be slightly altered as well. Depending on how guru develops I might rig some more equipment to her but only if we’ll get an inventory system and if I can swap out character meshes “on the fly”.
Everything else you see on here is still pretty early in development, except for the car meshes which will likely not get any more polish. (cars are outdated in the lore of Acythian an litter the streets of poor districts.

Whats this going to be anyway?

Bugsy recently developed this gem of a cyberpunk game. He was almost unable to release it because the built FPSC game gave him a plethora of crashes and errors. He pushed through though… luckily. I did so too with earlier titles but my later titles just didn’t work in FPSC. They’d eventually crumble under their own weight (runtime error…subscript out of bounds…random crash. Something along these lines would ensue). This is an effort to resurrect some of the content and ideas from these dead titles.

This for example! – I would have loved to finish it but it just overloaded FPSC’s Memcap. No matter what. (and many more problems aswell.) Same with Black November. Half a dozen levels done and all I have to show for it is a video of the first level.

I believe that my sci fi games have a distinct tone and style to them and I’d really like to finally get that tone and style on some players hard drives.
Acythian will be a story driven cyberpunk action game filled with atmosphere. It will redefine and recombine old ideas and have them all in a neat and hopefully entertaining 15 level package. This is what I try to do. This is my game project for this year.

There is little design work that is actually at a stage where it can be presented. What I show you here is mighty unpolished but you’ll get an idea where some of it is going. Almost all of it is in real time lighting. the baking system does not seem to like scaled or rotated meshes…and some meshes just for their attitude I guess  .

Note: The game start with our heroine being washed up ashore on a littered beach. With a towering skyline in the background…this should send the tone. With the current water shader and all… you can only see that there are plenty of carwrecks underwater from a distance. SCREENSHOT

I have yet to convert most of my trash and litter models to get the beach done. this is busywork though. Many of these models date back to ancient projects of mine

I think that add there looks misplaced and will be swapped with something else soon. I added the lensflare in post as I had to edit the image because the Mega Pack Version of my Cyberpunk-pack billboard doesn’t have the _I map set.. so I got carried away. Don’t judge me!

I tried to craft a somewhat authentic rocky coast. The result is okay … so far.

So! There are plenty more things I wanted to write about, but they slipped my mind  So please! If you have questions, air your thoughts here. I’d be happy to answer. 


…is being slow. I’m convinced that in 2 or 3 months (provided I have the time) I’ll plow ahead much faster. Right now I am still updating, redesigning and importing my media (from a collection I have amassed in 9 years of GD) including modeling new stuff.

I was however trying out how well dynamic objects behave in Guru and I am more than pleasantly surprised. I might easily have very dynamic and destructible environments in Acythian’s action sequences. That the levels will be interactive is a given. I even tried to provide a lot of interactions in an engine as static as FPSC’s.

I managed to import all my trash… I mean trash and rubble models for the polluted beach level. Its spiffing now but I won’t show progress of that map again, maybe later, maybe never. Otherwise it won’t be interesting to explore in the final release. But then again, this IS a developers forum not steam-greenlight. We’ll see!

This however:

Shows minor progress.

Its not at all the level I would liked to get on the forums in January but its something!! I made a new years resolution: At least 2 updates per month!

The reason why there is so little new to show is because I don’t want to keep showing you levels you already saw and because getting my media up and running takes way longer than I ever expected. I’m also experimenting a lot with gameplay and what can realistically be done. Being able to shoot things apart and see them breaking down is already pretty neat!! Lets take it further.

I hope I can show you the test map where I’ll prototype the shooting and (I dearly hope so) stealth elements of the game in february. I will however be out of the country for a while.

What you see above is a mere scene showing some media. Again…just a sign of life!! Its not baked and has tagged on light effects… but I won’t rant about the lightmapping again. ..I hold myself back!‘d like to start this update with a big shout out to a lot of present and former community members. All the artists who’s work I use in this project, without you I couldn’t do much of a game in any reasonable time span and you all add to the look of this title.
Its tedious and takes patience to convert my model library for guru but I can finally say that I have a solid foundation. I have such a great library of content from you guys that I accumulated over the years, its just amazing!

I’ll have a lot on my plate the upcoming two months so I won’t have as much time to put in this project as I had the last couple of weeks. In that time I did however manage to get stuff done for this. Not as much as I wanted but its noteworthy. The list:

– a new NPC rig. EAI’s Task Force characters are very well rigged so I don’t have much trouble modifying them and adding new accessories.
– plenty of converted and retextured media
– breakable glass
– a bit of early mapping

On a semi related note, I made this drawing. Its cyberpunkish as well and I’ll likely use it as a graffiti somewhere in the game

I’m pretty sure about where I want to take this game visually and its starting to look alright!! I have faith that one of these days that big bad update will hit that lets me light these levels.

I’m still experimenting on how guru will handle this but it looks like I’ll be able to have reasonably large levels that connect in and outdoor areas. In the level I present you now you have to question folk at a market, to gain access to an apartment where you are then again looking for a way into an illegal hacktivist outpost. (here this level will end) Its paramount that my indoor scenes will at least have as much detail as they had in FPSC and so far…it seems to work just fine  Big compliment to the developers for getting us this far!

A look at a middle class living area

NPC holding McGuffin (as entitie) (scene from a test map that will not make it in the game) I’d wish for a way attach dynamic lights like this to moving characters in the future  She is wearing a chest plate that didn’t work out as well as I hoped


All feedback welcome
I, of course, wanted this update to be rather large and show a lot of progress simply because of how long it has been since I updated anything on here but I must disappoint once again.
Getting my media up and running is seemingly a herculian task but I will also not opt for unpolished, shaderless relics of the past.

To add to my uncertainty as to what working on next rather than importing new media is the state of game guru itself which is kind of hanging in the air at the moment.

I can’t start working on media that require a shader different from the default entitie or char one because I don’t know what shaders we will get later.
I can’t work on the levels yet because the …whatever segment thing we are gonna get… is not included in the package yet so I’d have to stick to cyberpunk city areas that, again, look rather brown and washed out in the current rendering engine.
Working on the more advanced gameplay would be unwise because I can not tell what will be added by default soon that might be far superior to my own attempts at implementing them.
I have a lot of custom media for this game, yes, but none set up for these reasons. Well, almost none. In an experiment I was getting some very ancient lowpoly stuff up and running and imported old DarkMatter and Modelpack 5 meshes. Some of these look good enough to be in the background of the black market gun stores or even on a third person viewed character!

So far I am willing to make this a TPS, not just because of the gorgeous mesh I have from EAI but also because I have released about 5 FPS games already and worked on many more that didn’t get as far. It would be new.

Now I’d have to wait on a better implementation and more TPS features from TGC and see what can be done with that, but it will take a while until we reach anything like that. Then there is of course the possibility that EAI will sometime in the future release guns so good that I have to use them and drop the TPS concept.

Here is how I envision TPS view…at least for the shooting:

TPS Shooting Concept

OTS Shooting Concept

I wonder if we ever get that kind of freedom to set this up as seen above without breaking a leg but I guess we have to be patient and see.
What do you think? Any of the above mentioned hindering your development? If not, how do you cope with it?
I agree with you guys…but sometimes its not game guru…sometimes I am simply incompetent

Game guru does many things right but so far most games have looked blurry, hazy and muddy simply because they where lit horrendously bad. Kind of like the first FPSC games where grey and desaturated everything about my game guru games looked off… almost everyone else had the same problems and someone even released survival horror games on steam without proper lighting effects (using game guru). I suppose not everyone has to care
I digress… my point is that I have been messing about with game gurus lighting system and after a lot of trial and error and a few funny bugs I got the lightmapping system not only to work but also found out that, while its still in a rough state, its exactly the kind of lightmapping system that I always wanted to have in FPSC.
I can have fully shaded objects that don’t look off, correctly displayed transparent objects and I don’t have the memorycap rendering anything larger impossible.
I owe Lee an apology and will later make a thread about this.

Note that plenty of these have been scaled etc. and none glitch out like in previous GG versions.
Bugsy mentioned that his work-in-progress looks really good and that I should post it on the thread. Who am I to question his judgment:
Thank you for reading!

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